I feel that the term ‘kale chips’ is a contradiction in itself. Otherwise, how do you explain that the most nutritious greens on the planet got fused with the most unhealthy beer snack? By their very nature these two can’t possibly share a common space. However it seems that our leafy chaps got stuck somewhere on the verge of two worlds colliding. In a place where ‘yin’ meets ‘yang’ these opposites found each other too, thus settling the eternal feud of junk lovers and health foodies.
We live in Saint-Petersburg, where kale is a somewhat rare commodity. That’s ironic, because initially kale – a.k.a. curly cabbage – originated from Russia. But the tables turned and now, hundreds of years later, it’s just not on the market anymore. The options are quite limited: you can either grow it seasonally or catch an overnight bus to Finland where it’s sold in abundance. The latter was what we opted for and, having gone to visit an old friend of mine, used the opportunity to snatch a few bagfuls of kale on our way back.
Upon return I finally managed to fulfil my long-sought dream and tried this foreign treat. Because let’s be real, what actual vegan wouldn’t have?
Sharing is caring they say. Well, spoiler alert, profound mental suffering is what you’ll get if you decide to make them at home. Let’s say, a recipe calls for 300 gr of fresh kale, right? You’ll end up with a shrivelled handful of leaves, feeling torn apart between greed and conscious. But don’t worry too much, as soon as you bite into the first leaf you’ll be swept away but the tenderness and subtleness of its crunch. It’ll dissolve all your doubts, I promise!
300 gr kale
30 ml coconut oil
20 gr sunflower seeds
10 gr white sesame seeds
20 gr cashews
10 gr nooch
a dash of salt
300 gr kale
30 ml coconut oil
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp dried garlic
2 tsp dried oregano
0,5 tsp salt
1. Remove the stiff part of the stem from each leaf. Rip the leaves to same-size pieces (don’t get too extreme or you’ll end up with a pile of crumbs).
2. Transfer the leaves to a bowl and add the oil. You need to ‘loosen up’ your greens before they go into the oven, so give them a light massage by rubbing in the oil.
3. For the cheesy version put the rest of the ingredients into a food processor and ‘pulse’ until they are finely and evenly ground. Mix into the leaves.
For the smoked version just mix the rest of the ingredients in a small bowl and add to your oily leaves.
4. Prepare two baking trays by covering them with parchment paper. Evenly spread the leaves between the trays so that each piece is placed individually. Put into a pre-heated 125 C oven, bake first for 10 min, then carefully toss around to ensure that they cook evenly and then finish by baking until they turn golden (takes about 10-15 min more). Remove from the oven, let cool completely and then enjoy!